Another carryover from Tactics Advance is the clan system, which has you managing your clan mates, their classes/abilities, and the acquisition of new clan members. The system is supported by real-time auction houses that let you control areas of the world map; seizing and holding areas awards you certain boons such as items and quest-price reductions, as does raising your clan's skills (negotiation, teamwork, and so on) via clan trials to access new quests.
One of Grimoire's setbacks is the amount of time that it takes to accomplish even the simplest of tasks, with most quests lasting 45 minutes to an hour, although there is a handy quicksave feature. Grimoire also sports a steep learning curve for both its combat and micromanagement elements, and is a bit slow to pick up because you spend the first 10 to 20 hours mastering basic abilities, unlocking classes, and gathering equipment to play the jobs that you want. This constant push for quests significantly cheapens plot progression because you're focused on satisfying various objectives instead of shipping Luso home.
Presentation is similar to that in previous games, down to the detailed 2D sprites and Middle English dialogue as seen in War of the Lions. The musical score perfectly captures the feel of the Ivalice Alliance universe, which isn't surprising considering that composer Hitoshi Sakimoto also worked on other games in the series and recycled several themes from previous Ivalice games.
Square Enix included a few pleasant surprises to round out the Ivalice Alliance experience. These include three unlockable characters from Final Fantasy XII, a bonus clan privilege that you're awarded for loading Grimoire with Tactics Advance inserted, the ability to trade items with other players, and even a hard difficulty setting for the really daring--though you can easily spend more than 75 hours completing all 400 quests in normal mode.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift offers a surprising amount of depth, as highlighted by its impressive number of quests and skills, real-time area auctions, clan management, and unlockables, but many a Tactics fan might be put off by its cheapened quest-based plot progression and battle rules. Nevertheless, those enamored with Tactics Advance will likely enjoy it.